One of the hardest concepts to teach and for piano student’s to learn is how to curve their fingers. It is a challenge because children don’t understand why it’s so important and curving our fingers doesn’t come naturally. Curving the fingers is important because as lessons progress and the piano repertoire gets harder, correct technique makes a world of difference. The fingers are able to move with more ease and have greater touch control when they stay curved. So in this blog post, I want to give you 3 ways piano student’s can practice curving their fingers.
1. “Gulp” here’s a water bottle
One of my favorite ways to practice curving the fingers is by having a student hold an empty water bottle. Have them place their hand around the water bottle, take the bottle out with the other hand, and keep the hand shaped in the curved position. The challenge is when you go from practicing on the water bottle to actually applying the curved fingers on the piano. A lot of times as the student is practicing a song, you will get to the point if you see the fingers straightening out where you will simply just need to say “water bottle” and they know to check their hand position. It definitely takes time, but eventually this trick pays off.
2. Hot potato wrists “ouch”
Hot potato what now? Let me explain. We have all heard of or played the game hot potato. The goal is to get rid of the bean bag as quickly as possible because it is a “hot potato”. Now, pretend that the piano is the hot potato. The wrists can’t touch the piano because it is too hot and it will “burn” their wrists. The reason this works is because it is fun for the kids to pretend, but also it reminds them to keep their wrists off of the piano. If the arm is straight, the wrist is up, then curving the fingers sometimes just follows suit.
3. “Eek” there’s a mouse
I don’t know about you, but my kids love to play pretend. While student’s are playing the piano, especially for the younger student’s, pretending is so much fun. When they are learning a song, just simply say “eek” and they will remember to curve their fingers. The little mouse needs enough room to run under their hands and loves to run from one end of the piano to the other. If their fingers aren’t curved, the little mouse won’t be able to get through. It is so funny the first time the student hears you yell out “eek” and they give you the strangest look, but eventually they get what you are doing and love it.